This may get a few chuckles, but for true laughs that have stood the test of time, stick with the original literal-thinker:...

THE KNITWITS MAKE A MOVE!

A combination of the Dumb Bunnies and Amelia Bedelia, the KnitWits will surely appeal to juvenile humor. Parents? Not so much.

The KnitWit family is moving to a new home, a venture that seemingly consists of walking down the street. Magically, their boxes of belongings are already there and take no time at all to unpack. What’s left to do? Why, have a housewarming party, of course. The family of five busily goes about the house tacking up scarves and hats and sweaters, then turns to the question of treats for their guests. They “serve” a mix of salty and sweet snacks with a tennis racket and put the cake in the freezer to “ice” it. The KnitWits’ “straightening up,” “throwing open the door” for their guests and “toasty” house at the end of a satisfying party also have double meanings that will have readers shaking their heads at Tabby’s easy comedy. Erika Burling’s knit characters, each with his or her own personality and accessories, are plopped into Wildish’s tongue-in-cheek digital illustrations, creating a contrast between the real and the cartoon as well as between the 3-D KnitWits and their flat, illustrated neighbors.

This may get a few chuckles, but for true laughs that have stood the test of time, stick with the original literal-thinker: Amelia Bedelia. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-5342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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